August 2, 2005 [LINK]

Rafael Palmeiro suspended

News that Rafael Palmeiro has been suspended for ten days for violating MLB's new substance abuse policy came as a huge shock, especially since he made such an emphatic, finger-pointing denial when he testified before Congress in March. See

I went in front of Congress and I was honest with Congress. There's no absolute reason for me to do anything at this stage of my career. There's nothing for me to gain and everything for me to lose. I knew I was approaching 3,000 hits. I was not about to put everything on the line, my reputation and everything that I've worked for so hard in my life to do anything like this. It just makes no sense.

Indeed, it makes no sense at all, which is why we should hesitate before judging. It is within the realm of possibility -- but not very likely -- that the test was a false positive, or that Palmeiro did not know what he was ingesting. But then again, many people said it was absurd to imagine that President Clinton would compromise himself by getting involved with an intern. People with big egos often do reckless things, believing themselves to be above the rules of normal society. Today another player received a suspension for drug abuse: Ryan Franklin of the Seattle Mariners. It all reminds me of the Bart Simpson excuse routine:

  1. I didn't do it.
  2. You can't prove I did it.
  3. I didn't do it on purpose.
  4. So what, everybody does it!

Mensis horribilis for the Nats

Queen Elizabeth II called 1992 the "Annus horribilis" (horrible year) because of the breakup of Charles and Di's marriage and other royal scandals. Likewise, the horrible month of July 2005 for the Nationals will go down as one of the darkest episodes in team history, going from 5.5 games ahead in the NL East to 5 games behind first place. Contrary to what was expected before the season began, the team's pitching has been much better than their batting. Compared to the rest of the major league teams, the Nats had the worst statistics in the categories of runs, batting average, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and strikeouts; they were 28th out of 30 in hits. Just wait till next month! ball Oops, never mind: They just lost to the Dodgers 5-4, their twelvth straight loss in a game decided by one run.

To my surprise, the Nationals did not make any last-minute trades as the waiver-clearing deadline passed. GM Jim Bowden said the other teams were asking too much in return, and he didn't want to sacrifice the team's future potential just to grab some hot talent. It's probably for the best; it would have been awful if John Patterson or one of their other young stars-in-the-making had been let go. I still don't understand why the keep Cristian Guzman as a regular in the starting lineup when Jamey Carroll is available.

Forbes Field feedback

I received much helpful input about the revisions to the Forbes Field diagram(s), especially from Bruce Orser and Mark London, who sponsors that page. I now know that the monument was a few feet to the right of straightaway center field, but the distance marker was at least 40 feet to the right, and I suspect it was quite inaccurate. (Such a thing is not unheard of; the power alley markers at RFK Stadium were found to be inaccurate and had to be moved 40+ feet recently.) I may need to make a couple other minor adjustments on those diagrams in the near future, after I've sifted through all the new photos and data. ball As an aside, Bruce sent me this intersting link: